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Swatch Maker Looms FAQ

Thanks for your enthusiasm for this little line of looms. Becoming not just the user of these looms, but the maker as well, has been a challenge! Listed here are the most common questions I field about these looms. I have a course on Swatching at the Yarnworker School that takes a deep dive into how I use these looms to sample.

How do I thread more than one color?

When working with multiple colors, warp the first color, skipping the necessary spaces for additional color, then tie off. Then warp the next color, filling in the slots or holes, depending on which style of loom you are using. 

Can you double the yarns to achieve other setts?

Yes! For instance, to achieve a sett of 16, you can place two yarns in each slot. If you would like to achieve a sett of 15, you can thread 7 slots with two ends and 1 slot with a single end in each inch. The latter will look look a little off on the loom, with some ends clumping together and others spaced apart, so you don’t get the visual benefit to see if you are on track. You could weave a row of sumac at the base to spread out the ends a little bit, but I typically skip that step. For the most part it comes out in the wash.

In general, this is easier to do in the slots than the holes unless you are doubling each hole. You can wind the doubled ends first as you would when threading more than one color (see above), then come back and thread the single ends.

I find threading the holes challenging, any tips?

I hear you. Anything that is all-in-one always has downsides. An object’s greatest strength is often its greatest weakness. When I first started working with this loom, I wan’t completely convinced. As a project loom, the slots are far more expedient. As a design tool, the 3-in-1, has a lot of merit. As I described in the product description, I use this loom most to make smaller comparison pieces—sett studies, color studies, etc. Outlined on the resource page are the pros and cons of each loom.

Some tips: I find warping the holes in smaller sections and tying the ends together works well. With the 3-in-1 it isn’t as important to hold onto the end while threading, because the threads stay put far better than when you are warping the slots.  Angela Smith and I hosted a Zoom session in October of 2020 where we talked all things 3-in-1. 

How do you get a straight fell line using a kitchen fork?

When using a fork, use a gentle beat to press the yarn into place. If your fell line is wavy, pull on both edges of the fabric and this will help even out the fell line a bit. (The fell line is the last woven pick.) Although the technique of using a kitchen fork to beat improves over time, a proper weaving comb that is wider will get you better results than a fork. If you have a hair comb or pick that is on the open side and wider, you can try that and it might give you better results. 

How do you thread a thick yarn using the small needle provided?

If you yarn is stiff and tightly plied, you may not need a needle at all. If it is on the softer side, try using a needle threader or a fine piece of sewing thread. To use the sewing thread, cut a piece of thread about 10 inches long. Take the yarn and place it in the middle of the thread with about 2 inches of overlap. Fold the thread in half and thread it through the needle, then see if you can gently tug the yarn through the needle. Soft yarns flatten out amazingly well.


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